Published on June 19th, 2009 | by Jennifer Lance4
Meat Free Mondays: Paul McCartney’s Global Warming Campaign
Sir Paul McCartney and his late wife Linda have long been famous vegetarians, including writing several vegetarian cookbooks. Now the Beatle is promoting Meatless Mondays as a way to educate and promote family activism. The idea is simple: Go meat-free one day a week. This campaign follows on the announcement by the United Nations last fall:
In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity. Give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease it from there.
According to the UN, meat production is responsible for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. The UK’s Food Climate Research Network cites lower estimates holding food production for livestock accountable for 10 to 15 percent of emissions. Whatever the statistic, the impact of global meat production is significant, and meat consumption is up in the United States. Biofuels Digest reports:
70 percent of US corn and soy production is devoted to feed, not food, and not fuel…According to the FAO and the USDA , US meat consumption has increased 137 pounds per person since the 1950s, with a resulting increase in grain usage of 375 pounds per person (the grain fed to cattle and poultry). Cheese consumption has increased faster than milk’s decline, and Americans consume 179 extra pounds of milk, which uses up another 63 pounds of grain. In short, dietary change in the US has resulted in an additional 438 pounds of grains per capita, or 8 bushels of corn.
Scientists, chefs, and celebrities are supporting McCartney’s Meatless Mondays campaign. It’s a relatively simple step all families can take that will have a significant effect on climate change. Jan van Aken, Greenpeace biologist, estimates Meatless Mondays could reduce cattle emissions by 10 to 20 percent. If you aren’t already a vegetarian, try having a Meatless Monday. Who knows? It may evolve into a Meatless Tuesday, Meatless Wednesday, etc.